Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Note About QALYs

So, I was just out for a run around the pond - beautiful out - and a thought occured to me. The health economics literature uses the concept of 'QALYs' - Quality-Adjusted Life Years - as their cost-effectiveness tool. If drug A can save more QALYs than drug B, and both cost the same, choose A.

But I was pretty sure that a pretty big thing in micro was that interpersonal (or even intertemporal) utility comparisons are not valid. Period.

What happens if life is an experience good? Can we make the argument that knocking off someone at 1 day probably isn't that detrimental, because nobody depends on them? Does the death of an elder confer huge loss? Either way, it's a concept that ruffles my feathers, as it were.

No comments: